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For the first time in the history of Polish cartography we managed to create one, single organisation that gathers all cartographers from the whole country. Until 1999 we were scattered in different organisations and institutions, we were divided into groups of "large- and small-scale" cartographers, publishers and scientists, civil, military and navigational cartographers. Different research groups had indeed many successes and achievements but they represented only some parts of Polish cartographic society. After many years of discussions we finally created our own, independent professional organisation and Poland joined the group of nearly forty countries that are active in their own cartographic associations.

The absence of the free profession of cartographer was the main reason that within 40 years after the Second World War we could not establish our own organisation. The whole map production was concentrated and centralised in three institutions and it was a subject to a strict State's control. Moreover every research that in conclusion brought a map was also thoroughly controlled.

For the last couple of years, cartography in Poland has been developing very rapidly. We can count up to 100 private companies that are actively working in this field. Furthermore we can find many firms which are engaged in the GIS and production of maps. Now we can be all gathered in our own independent association. The history of our organisation was published in our newsletter and the whole documentation can be found on our web side. The main goals that we adopted as aims of our organisation are following: gathering the originators and specialists that actively work as cartographers to represent our trade in Poland and abroad, co-operating with proper institutions to develop different new techniques and also cartographic production, implementing our research achievements in the field of cartography and publishing, protecting our profession and copyrights, raising the level of knowledge and qualification of our members and moreover developing a high level of professional ethics, popularisation in our society the issues of science, technology and economy in the field of cartography. Other aims are: the initiation, supporting and attending in the exchange of organisational, scientific and technological experience with similar associations from different countries, representing our members in Poland and abroad as the advocate of their copyrights and other related rights.

Many initiatives that have been undertaken by our society are still developing. We joined the discussion about the amendments of Polish geodetic and cartographic law; we were also giving an opinion on the copyright in the field of cartography. We carried out the competition for the best map of the year during Annual Polish Cartographic Conferences and Schools. We co-operate with the Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography in the field of official maps and other issues connected with cartography. Since 1999 we have been a member of European Cartographic Union. In Draft Articles of Association, point 8 concerning meetings and benefits there is a duty of inviting members of ECU mentioned. So we would like to invite the members of ECU to us.

Joanna Bac-Bronowicz,
President of the Association of Polish Cartographers